The tree is nestled into a nice corner. The lights are strung from top to bottom. The sparkly ornaments are dangling from the branches. What a beautiful sight.
Your cat thinks so too.
Chances are that your feline family member is eager to explore this dazzling display you put into the living room just for him!
A Christmas tree is transformed into a living jungle gym for your cat, who will happily leap into the bough and hide. And, if your kitties are nibblers, they may find those strings of lights irresistible.
So... now you are faced with a decision... put up a tree and deal with the cat consequences or eliminate the tree altogether. Fortunately, there are many options in between those two extremes. We rounded up a whole bunch of ideas to help you protect your Christmas tree from your little furry mischief maker.
- Place the tree away from leaping off points, such as tables or couches. Give your tree its very own corner to dazzle. Kitty might still try to get up into the tree, but will find it much harder to leap up into it and knock it over.
- Put a fence around it. There are several sizes of exercise pens that help deter both dogs and cats from getting to the tree. Keep in mind that if your cat takes a leap from the couch or other high perch, the fence will not deter them. You can also put some bells on the fence to startle them if they bump into it.
- Get a smaller tree and put it on a table top. This means less of a festive display, but if your pal just has to explore the tree, a smaller tree with fewer decorations might save both of you some frustration. And it has the added benefit of keeping her from toppling a heavy tree onto herself.
- Strap it to the wall. No really! Some twine or thin wrapped wire wrapped around the midsection of the tree and nailed into a stud in the wall will keep that tree from toppling over when the kitties use it to practice their leaping form.
- Get a sturdier base for the tree. The New York Times hosted Wirecutter has a listing of their favorite - meaning most highly reviewed - tree bases with links for where to buy them.
- Place the lights closer to the tree trunk where they will be less likely to be chewed on by your cat. If your cat is a chewer, you can cover the lights with a Critter Cord so she doesn't get a nasty shock or start a fire.
- Place your sparkly, dangly ornaments higher on the tree so they are less visible to your cat. A shiny round bauble hanging on a low branch is the perfect toy for your little mischief maker.
- Keep a spray bottle filled with water handy. If they are messing about with the tree, send a warning spray of water their direction. If you are consistent, they will begin to get the message and run off when they see you lift up the water bottle.
- Spray the tree with a product that smells bad to kitties. Both Synergy and PetAg (among others!) make sprays that are designed to deter cats, and are also SAFE for pets.
- Give your kitties something else to climb, like a cat tree or a box fort. Spread some catnip or pheromones on the new climbing structure to direct them towards it.
- Invest in a fake tree instead of a real one. There is less danger of your cat ingesting the pine needles or sap from the pine. Wayfair has some beautiful trees available for pretty darn good prices.
- Set up the tree with no lights or decorations for a few days and give your kitty time to explore the tree - and hopefully get bored of it- before you load it up with those delightful goodies. Thanks to PETA for this cool tip.
- Give kitty their own dangly toys to play with. The kinds with feathers and hanging fishies keep those rascals busy very nicely. You could even secure it near (not on) the tree so they play with it and NOT the tree.
Need more suggestions? Here are a couple for you!
Preventivet has a really cool article about protecting Christmas trees from our feline friends.
And Bored Panda has gathered a funny collection of ways people protect their Christmas tree, including putting the tree in a dog kennel or hanging it from the ceiling.
Happy holidays, ya'll. May your days be merry and bright and may your Christmas tree survive intact.